The planned rail trail through Lynnfield and Wakefield is eligible for federal highway funds, state transportation officials determined earlier this month.
In recent days, Wakefield Town Administrator Steve Maio and Lynnfield Town Administrator Bill Gustus have both received letters from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation confirming the project's eligibility for federal highway funds. That said, Gustus noted at Monday night's Lynnfield selectmen's meeting that securing the actual funds is a different step in the process.
On Monday night, Gustus said that engineers should be able to begin the design process once the state DOT approves the scope of work and other details. Several years ago, he recalled that the state had provided $500,000 in funding for preliminary design work.
In the letter from the DOT dated December 4, the state agency also cites an estimated construction cost of $6,325,000 for the project. "The eventual implementation of this project is also contingent on successful completion of the project design and review process, securing all necessary right of way, and receipt of all appropriate permits," stated the letter.
The proposed 4.4 mile trail would run from the Galvin Middle School on the south end of downtown Wakefield up through Lynnfield and Reedy Meadow to the Peabody line. Existing trails in Peabody already run not far from the Lynnfield line to the North Shore Mall. Another nearby trail runs from approximately the Route 114 McDonalds near the Danvers/Peabody line into downtown Topsfield.
Looking ahead, one challenge presented in this project will be creating a rail trail through the Reedy Meadow marsh that remains usable despite the high water levels and seasonal flooding that is particularly prevalent near the bridge under Route 128 (see photo). With that in mind, .
Editor's Note: Check out this photo gallery from the Lynnfield side of the rail bed through Reedy Meadow heading toward Wakefield.